We've only been actively celebrating St. Nicholas Day for a couple of years--in fact, St. Nick dropped by a day late last year (not that the kids knew any different, but you have probably figured out by now that I fly by the seat of my pants sometimes.)
(OK, a lot of the time!) :)
I didn't get the chocolate coins ahead of time, and found out too late that no one was selling them locally. That's really not a big deal, but the kids remembered the chocolate coins from last year, and the bags of gold are a significant part of the St. Nicholas story, so it's great to have them. St. Nicholas was up late last night baking a quick batch of little round pre-fab sugar cookies, and frosting them with golden confectioner's sugar glaze, so the kids would have gold coins after all. He left them on the kitchen table, with a note suggesting they be eaten for breakfast.
St. Nicholas is a very popular guy at our house. :)
(They look a little like cheese biscuits in the picture, don't they? What a good idea that would've been, instead of all those sweets! Of course, I didn't hear anyone complaining here.)
Shoes, of course, were filled with yummy chocolate treats, and a packet of gourmet hot chocolate mix, too.
I loved Junie B.'s reaction: "Mommy, since we had snack for breakfast today, can we have breakfast for lunch?" :) (And we did--scrambled ham & eggs with toast!)
Later in the day, we made some very tasty Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies (our first "official" cookie baking of the season!), which I found at the indispensable allrecipes.com . It's a very simple, easy recipe (I melted the butter, etc., on the stove while the kids helped me sift the dry ingredients, then the kids just took turns stirring it all together). That part, we actually did yesterday; today we made the cookie balls and frosted them--which was a lot like playing with playdoh. It was a fun substitute for Speculaas cookies (which I decided looked too complicated to make it easy to do with the kids. That's my big secret to cooking with kids successfully, by the way: Keep It Simple, Sis.)
We enjoyed them with candy cane stirrers in Peppermint Tea or Warm Vanilla Milk as a little "St. Nicholas Day Tea" tonight with Daddy at bedtime. The little Prayer for St. Nicholas Day, in The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions for Children's Faith Formation was perfect for setting the stage, and the atmosphere enhanced with the lighting of the advent candle.
Taz ended the day with his special job of breaking off the day's link in our Liturgical Paper Chain, and once the two littler ones were settled down, Junie B. and I shared a chapter in one of my favorite books, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
It was a delightful, fairly low-key day, and we even got all our schoolwork done! (I'm starting to really find my groove in our daily routine, by the way. More on that to come.)
So, you may ask...how do we deal with the whole St. Nicholas/Santa Claus thing? Good question. I'll save it for another post.